Lisa Epstein Sees Role For Clerk In Foreclosure Crisis

Nurse and mortgage fraud activist Lisa Epstein is challenging incumbent Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock in this month’s primary election.

Both Epstein and Bock are Democrats, but since there are no other candidates in the race, the Aug. 14 election is open to all county voters. The winner will claim a four-year term.

Epstein is a graduate of George Mason University who has been living in Palm Beach County since 1997.

Working as an oncology nurse, she began investigating lenders in 2007 when she noticed changes in the traditional response from mortgage lenders regarding her cancer patients saying they would work out something with their families to pay their mortgages.

“Something changed in 2007, and their families and I weren’t able to get anywhere, and it really weighed on my suspicions,” Epstein said. “Something had changed. Something was different.”

Epstein said she considers herself pretty persistent and able to work around bureaucracies, HMOs and insurance companies that want to deny treatments, medications or testing.

“Then, in my own personal life, I was facing financial issues right after the crash and went through the same rigmarole I saw my patients going through,” she recalled.

With her curiosity piqued, Epstein started spending her time off at the county courthouse observing foreclosure court, researching cases, looking in official records and visiting the Securities and Exchange Commission web site for the regulatory filings of mortgage-backed securities investments during the real-estate boom.

“I became one of a very small group of whistleblowers into the financial fraud and foreclosure fraud story,” Epstein said, noting that putting the puzzle together took about 18 months of nonstop work.

Once the pervasive fraud was uncovered, she believed that there would be more than just congressional hearings, consent orders and settlements. “I thought there would be some sustainable solution to keep millions of families in their homes, and there isn’t, there really isn’t,” she said.

Epstein also thought representatives would implement policies to protect families within their constituency, but found resistance at state and county levels. “We saw our attorney general fire the foreclosure fraud investigators, so, I decided I would throw my hat in the ring and run for a position [where] I wasn’t just a citizen advocate,” she said.

Epstein said she chose to run for county clerk because one of that office’s main duties is safeguarding the integrity of the public records. “The financial services industry has filed what we know are tens of thousands of records in our own county that are forged, fraudulent or fabricated — a crime in Florida statute, and it affects our property rights,” she said.

Epstein said it also affects title integrity for people far outside the foreclosure crisis. “It affects our ability to have faith in conveyance of real estate for decades,” she said.

She is also concerned about the concentration of county investments in bailed-out banks. “Out of the $1.45 billion investment fund of county investments, about 56 percent is in Freddie- and Fannie-backed securities, so, that’s guaranteed by us, the federal taxpayer,” Epstein said. “I think we really need to look at this and examine what it means for us as American taxpayers, who are asked to bail out Fannie and Freddie continually. If counties across the state, across the nation are doing this, this is an unsustainable model.”

Epstein also points out that Wells Fargo Bank, the county’s depository institution, recently signed a settlement on discriminatory lending practices with fair housing groups because it maintained homes better in upscale neighborhoods than it did in minority neighborhoods. “Are any of the other banks any better? I don’t know, but I think that we should look at other alternatives than continuing to support institutions that have been so damaging to us, our county, our state, our nation,” she said.

Epstein believes elected officials should represent the people who elect them. “I, as a nurse, a citizen [and] an advocate, have always put people first,” she said. “Everything in my professional life and personal life really shows that I have the No. 1 qualification, which is to represent people, and would be willing to take great personal risks to do the right thing.”

She thinks the top issues in the race include acknowledging the violation of the authenticity of land records, the reduction of hours at the clerk’s offices as a result of budget cuts and promoting more awareness of what the clerk does.

“What would be a crime for a citizen to commit is being done countless times by the financial services industry, and we need to really from the local level start holding them accountable,” Epstein said.

During the campaign, she has found that few people know what the clerk’s office does. “Everyone knows what the sheriff does, the supervisor of elections, the tax collector, the property appraiser. Very few people, even civically engaged people, are clear [on the role of the clerk],” Epstein said. “I think that’s a deficiency.”

Epstein said she is better qualified because she really wants to make a difference for the people she represents. She wants to look at the financial reports with the same zeal and intellectual curiosity that she did when she was researching the SEC filings. “I want to get to know the employees,” she said. “There are over 700 employees. I want my leadership and personality traits to filter down.”

She would begin by introducing herself to all the staff. “I don’t want to go in and clean house overnight,” she said. “I want to go in and learn who people are and what they believe is the best that can be done to move the office forward.”

Epstein also wants to investigate what she believes is foreclosure cost shifting by bank law firms onto the clerk’s office to do legal research. “This happens to the detriment of the taxpayers,” she said. “We really can’t afford it anymore.”

Epstein is concerned about the state’s financing reduction not only to the clerk’s office but the judiciary as well. “It seems that the state is really trying to de-fund the judiciary, and we need to get that message out there because the judiciary plays such a key role in society,” she said.

While Epstein has been called a one-issue candidate focusing solely on the foreclosure crisis, she said that is one outcome of a financial fraud crisis that brought down the entire economy, causing massive unemployment and cutbacks.

“The cutback in services in [the clerk’s] office is the direct outflow of the financial fraud crisis,” she said. “Until we, as a nation, as a state, and as a county, start holding our elected officials accountable to standing up and protecting citizens, it is just going to drag on and happen again.”

Epstein said the public’s confidence in government and the judiciary is being eroded. She said voters should vote for her because she can make a difference.

“We now have a public that knows that when you go into court against a financial institution, you are going to lose, even if you’re right,” she said. “We do not hold financial institutions accountable for massive fraud, for perjury and for forgery.”

For more information about Epstein, visit


  1. Hi there Taxpayer1965. It is wonderful you stated Lisa Epstein is well-intentioned. Few folks are as well-intentioned, passionate, hard working and trustworthy as Lisa Epstein! That is an excellent starting place for a political candidate and rarely found. I won’t debate her financial and legal qualifications. I would suggest you talk to Lisa about that. I do know that Lisa is wise and will place knowledgable folks in the appropriate positions to get the tasks accomplished. A well-intentioned public official who knows how to get answers is exactly what is needed. She is a very bright and educated lady! Lisa Epstein can and will get the job done and corruption out! Perhaps the article sounds like an ad because it is hard to think of Lisa in this position and not get truly excited about the triumphant change that will come. The time is now! She is a gift!

  2. The current clerk, Sharon Bock, claims she can not do anything about (foreclosure) fraud in the public records, but she can in other areas she oversees?


    “The Clerk’s Recording Department and IG identified as many as 31 quit claim deeds that had been transferred to K & R Investment Capital, a West Palm Beach company that listed Joaseus as the president. Those findings were turned over to law enforcement for the criminal investigation into whether the documents were falsified.

    ‘If a document appears to be filled out properly, Clerks are required by law to record all documents as they are presented to us, protecting the integrity of the original record,” said Clerk Bock. “But sometimes facts present themselves that trigger an investigation by our IG. And, that’s what happened in this case.’”

    On January 17, 2012, a YouTube video of her appearance at a guardianship seminar. The presentation begins with the following statements from Clerk Bock:

    “In 1848 the framers of the Florida Constitution created the Clerk (and Comptroller’s) office to be the watchdog of your tax dollars and of your public records of mortgages deeds and all of the court case files. As Clerk of the Court we are the gateway into the justice system and besides the processing of all of the paperwork and the files that we do we also have the constitutional role to not only protect the integrity of the information in those records but also it can extend to protecting the accuracy of those records.”…As the clerk, we have the statutory responsibility to account for the completeness and the accuracy of all of these reports in the court record and report any inaccuracies to the courts.”

    Palm Beach County is widely recognized as Ground Zero during the ongoing housing crisis for foreclosure fraud. Sharon Bock is putting out press releases highlighting and taking credit for her office’s role in the policing of fraudulent documents in the areas of guardianship, quit claim and of course criminal court filings. On the one issue that has generated rampant known fraud, the allegations of robosigning of perhaps hundreds of thousands of filings, unprecedented loss of property values, rocket docket courts that silently evict under-represented citizens from their homes in Palm Beach County, investor fraud, securitization failures and an overall hit to the economic well being of the citizens who she is elected to represent, her answer is basically “not my job”.

    Is Sharon Bock afraid to take on the bankers?

    It is up to local officials to do what they can to protect our residents. It is time to bring in someone who is up for the whole job.

    Pam Bondi’s (staff) comments on Sharon Bock, along with all other clerks of court…

    “In the event, however, that a clerk has a reasonable belief or suspicion that a crime has been committed in the execution or notarization of a document, the proper course of action would be to contact the State Attorney in the Circuit in which the document was filed and request that the filing be reviewed. Complaints relating to notaries may also be submitted to the Office of the Governor, Notary Section. Finally, Clerks might wish to consult with the Chief Judge of their Circuit to determine whether notice should be given to the Court in situations where the authenticity of a filing is questioned.”

    We won’t even talk about Bock withholding the funds for the IG’s office.

    She is deciding the case before it is heard and ruled upon by a Judge.

    What Florida law gives the clerk the authority to hold the funds without a court order?

    Again, It is up to local officials to do what they can to protect PBC residents. It is time to bring in someone who is up for the whole job.

  3. Is this an advertisement or a newspaper article? The Town Crier owes its readers more diligence in an article on a candidate. It fails to mention that Florida law does not give the clerk any authority to police banks or make a judgement about what is contained in a document.

    In addition, Ms. Epstein was sued by American Express for not paying a $13,000 credit card bill. If she can’t handle her own finances, how can she manage the Clerk’s $56 million budget, millions of county government expenditures and manage a $1.8 billion investment portfolio that holds taxpayer dollars?

    It doesn’t take much digging to find that as well-intentioned as this candidate is, she has no qualifications to handle the complex legal and financial responsibilities of the Clerk’s office.

    • There are certainly ways to watch the banks and fraudulent practices. Clerks offices around the country are starting to hold mers accountable and refuse to record documents that are fraudulent. So Lisa couldn’t pay her credit card bill (don’t even know if this is true). So lets not trust her??? You rather trust in the banks that stole trillions of dollars from the taxpayer to behave? She knows more about the legal financial responsibilities of the Clerk’s office that anyone out there. Call the OCC, the FHFA and compare what they know. Call the banks and servicers and see what they tell you. Go Lisa. Your county can be so lucky if they have you!

    • All credit card companies do the same thing with the credit card receipts that the banks do with the notes and mortgages. They are securitized and bundled up. If Amex sued Ms. Epstein, Ms. Epstein was wise in not paying Amex because whoever sued Ms. Epstein was NOT the original creditor. Besides, when you default on your credit card, the creditor has insurance so they get paid. Then they sell your debt to a debt collector that has no proof of the debt. Good for Ms. Epstein not paying the credit card bill. Take down the who financial system and eliminate the Federal Reserve. We will all be better off without them! Go Ron Paul for President 2012!

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